Lakers Trade Rumors: LA Must Be Wary of Game They’re Playing with Andrew Bynum

Mitch Kupchak is playing with fire.

Rumors of the Los Angeles Lakers trading Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard have been rampant for over a year now. But if LA approaches its pursuit of Howard the wrong way, it risks burning a bridge with Bynum. And if that happens, it could be left with neither center next summer.

Sam Amico of FOX Sports reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers, while aggressive, are being cautious in their attempt to acquire Bynum. And they should be.

Bynum becomes a free agent next summer. If they land him, but he refuses to sign an extension, Cleveland would get royally screwed over. And the Cavs know a thing or two about getting screwed over in free agency.

If Bynum doesn’t promise the Cavaliers that he’ll re-sign, they could chicken out of a swap, therefore killing the Lakers’ chance to add Howard for the time being. And if LA doesn’t reboot those trade talks with the Orlando Magic and deal for D12 by the start of the regular season, it should abandon its endeavor and lock up Bynum long-term.

If the Lakers don’t, they risks losing him. Sure, Bynum has been in trade rumors for years. He’s numb to it by now.

According to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports, Kobe Bryant talked Bynum’s I-couldn’t-care-less mindset in regards to rumors. He said:

Yea, yea. He’s got kind of this (expletive) it attitude, you know what I mean. Which is great, it’s one of the things that makes him a great player. It won’t bother him at all. Andrew is a big boy, he can handle it better than most.

But if he hits the open market, he’ll instantly be offered a max contract. And staring at a max contract from, say, the Dallas Mavericks who he’s already expressed interest in, is it really a given that he’d turn it down? Is it a guarantee that he’d return to the Lakers—a franchise that’s c...

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